Famed Hacker Kevin Mitnick Passes Away at 59 After Battle with Pancreatic Cancer

Famed Hacker Kevin Mitnick Passes Away at 59 After Battle with Pancreatic Cancer

The world of cybersecurity mourns the loss of renowned hacker and social engineer, Kevin Mitnick, who peacefully passed away at the age of 59 due to complications from pancreatic cancer after bravely fighting the illness for 14 months.

Remembering Kevin Mitnick’s Legacy

Kevin Mitnick’s family and senior staffers at KnowBe4, the security awareness and training company he co-owned and served as the chief hacking officer, announced his demise. He leaves behind his wife, Kimberley, who is expecting their first child later this year.

“Kevin was not only a dear friend to me but also an inspiration to many of us at KnowBe4. His contributions to the cybersecurity industry were invaluable, but above all, he was a remarkable human being, and his absence will be deeply felt,” said KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman.

The Early Days of a Legend

Born and raised in suburban Los Angeles, Mitnick’s early encounters with social engineering and hacking began at the tender age of 12. He ingeniously convinced an LA bus driver to reveal the location of a mechanical ticket punching device, which he used to ride buses across the city for free after finding unused transfer slips in a dumpster.

As he grew older, Mitnick ventured into phone phreaking, a disappearing “art” of manipulating the telephone system, before transitioning to hacking computer systems. At 16, he made headlines by breaking into the network of Digital Equipment Corporation, a pioneer in microcomputers, and copying its operating system software.

Brush with the Law

For his early cyber attack on Digital Equipment Corporation, Mitnick faced legal consequences and was eventually charged and convicted in 1988. After serving 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release, he found himself in trouble again for hacking into the systems of Pacific Bell phone company. He claimed he did so to counter-surveil the company’s monitoring on behalf of US law enforcement.

This action led to a warrant for Mitnick’s arrest, causing him to go on the run. Following a two-year manhunt, he was apprehended in February 1995 in South Carolina. Mitnick faced multiple charges, including wire fraud, possession of unauthorized access devices, interception of wire or electronic communications, unauthorized access to a federal computer, and causing damage to a computer.

Challenging the Narrative

Throughout his legal battles, Mitnick consistently maintained his innocence, asserting that he was not a malicious cyber criminal but rather the victim of misleading media reporting. His supporters rallied behind the famous “Free Kevin” campaign, insisting that many of the charges against him were exaggerated or fraudulent.

Despite outlandish claims, such as the ability to launch a nuclear missile by whistling, which earned him eight months in solitary confinement, Mitnick eventually pleaded guilty to certain charges as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to 46 months in jail, with an additional 22 months for violating his earlier supervised release arrangement. After already serving over four years before the trial, he was released on January 21, 2000, under the condition of not using any technology except for a landline telephone.

A New Chapter: Post-Release Achievements

Following his release, Mitnick established his own security consultancy and quickly rose to prominence as a successful consultant, public speaker, and author. He became a regular fixture on the cybersecurity event circuit and earned respect as an educator and commentator on cyber issues. His life story even inspired the 2000 movie “Takedown,” where he was portrayed by Skeet Urich.

Recently, Kevin Mitnick teamed up with KnowBe4 to develop the Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training (KMSAT) security education package. This product line proved to be one of the organization’s most popular offerings, showcasing Mitnick’s wealth of knowledge in the cybersecurity realm.

Honoring a Legend: Memorial Service

A memorial service for Kevin Mitnick will be held in Las Vegas on August 1, 2023. The ceremony will see him laid to rest alongside his mother and grandmother. Additional information, including details for virtual attendance, will be shared in due course to accommodate friends and colleagues from around the world.

In Memory of Kevin Mitnick

In honor of Kevin Mitnick’s memory, his family has requested donations to be made to either the US National Pancreas Foundation or the Equal Justice Initiative. These causes reflect the values and concerns that were important to the renowned hacker throughout his life.

The cybersecurity world will forever remember Kevin Mitnick as a luminary who left an indelible mark on the industry. His skills, wit, and dedication to making the digital world safer have inspired generations of cyber enthusiasts, ensuring his legacy will live on for years to come.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dishaa T is a dedicated writer at Famouslifestylz.com, where she tirelessly pursues her passion for reporting on the latest happenings in the world of Celebrity Gossip. With an unwavering commitment to providing comprehensive updates, Dishaa keeps readers informed about awards, net worth, the newest fashion trends, intriguing rumors, and the latest social media buzz. Her expertise and dedication ensure that readers can rely on her for nuanced and up-to-date reports from the glamorous realm of celebrities.

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